From recipes that originated in an Italian kitchen to Tuscany-inspired décor, Divine Pizza and Restaurant strives to provide its customers with an authentic Italian experience.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of operation for owners Joe and Stacey Scotto DiMonaco. Joe, originally from an Italian island named Procida, moved to America 25 years ago to work in Italian restaurants and pizzerias owned by his uncle. Among the things he brought with him were recipes used by his mother, who still resides in Italy.
About eight years later, the couple met at an Italian restaurant in East Windsor, where Joe cooked and Stacey was a waitress. The story foreshadows their current roles as owners of Divine Pizza and Restaurant, located at 634 Arena Drive in Hamilton.
The business began as a take-out pizzeria, but has since expanded into a full-service Italian restaurant.
Joe crafts every recipe on the menu, drawing on his lifelong experience in Italian kitchens, Stacey said.
She believes their use of quality ingredients enables them to create a superior pizza.
They use “a perfectly natural dough,” to create thin, moist crust for their pizzas, she said. The restaurant-made dough contains no added sugar or preservatives.
Stacey said that tomato sauce is another element that contributes to the quality of their pizzas.
“A lot of people add a lot of stuff to their sauce,” she said, adding that Joe refrains from using non-essential ingredients.
Stacey said that Sicilian and sausage pizzas are among their top sellers. Another popular item is their tomato pies, which are topped with crushed tomatoes with basil and a touch of cheese.
Large cheese pizzas are $10.50, large tomato pies are $11.25 and Sicilian cheese pizzas are $13.75.
Beyond pizza, Stacey named chicken and eggplant parmigiana as two of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. The menu also features homemade meatballs and soups.
The best-selling soup is chicken noodle. Stacey recalled a customer once ordering 15 servings of the signature recipe, which features crushed tomatoes as well as vegetables.
The chicken soup is offered daily, while others such as lentil, escarole and bean, and cream of broccoli rotate as soups of the day.
Stacey said many customers order take-out from the restaurant, which delivers to parts of Hamilton near Arena Drive for minimum orders of $7. The restaurant also offers catering service and has a separate catering menu.
But more customers have been dining in the restaurant since it was remodeled. About a year ago, the dining room had little more than white walls and black and white checkered floors, Stacey said.
Now it features wooden floors and décor inspired by Tuscany. The windows are adorned with new blinds and shades, and the walls, painted by an Italian painter, are accented with artwork.
She added that customers are welcome to bring their own spirits and to use bottle openers and wine glasses provided by the restaurant.
Stacey said the restaurant is busiest on Friday nights and that crowds typically pick up around 12:30 p.m. and again around 6 p.m.
She expressed gratitude for the familiar faces they see in the restaurant on a regular basis.
“We have very dedicated customers, people that have been here since Day One,” she said.
She said customers have told her that Divine Pizza is “the best kept secret in Hamilton.”
The restaurant’s typical hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The dining room stays open until 9 p.m. and delivery is available until 10 p.m. For more information, or to place an order, call (609) 888-4005. Orders can also be faxed to (609) 888-4017.